Checking Account Decoded

Have you ever wondered what the difference is in the many checking accounts available? There are so many ads floating around on the television, internet, magazines and newspapers they all seem to be the same after awhile. I have created a brief list of things to look for when choosing a checking account at a financial institution.

Free checking accounts — sounds fantastic, right?  Read the small print in order to understand the requirements involved in the “free” account. My advice?  Look for a financial institution which clearly states the requirements from the beginning.

Minimum deposit requirements — many checking accounts are free to open but require you to keep an unreasonable amount of money in the account at all times in order to avoid the monthly account fee.

Other account fees — what are they and how much can you expect to pay? Are there return check fees? Are you charged simply to visit with the teller as you make you deposit or cash a check in person? Are there options available to avoid these fees — for example free ATM’s?

Office locations — are there multiple locations in various areas in order to meet your needs?

Debit cards — does the financial institution have them?  Are there fees assessed for using the card?

Web and mobile options — can you make deposits to your checking account using your phone?  Is there an online banking site to see cleared checks, account balances, etc.

When it comes to your money, knowledge is power! Knowing all your options prior to opening your new checking account is worth the time and effort put into gaining the knowledge.

Savings Tip: Opening a Care(free) Checking account with FTWCCU is worth your time. No monthly maintenance fees, a FREE MasterCard Debit Card and right now (through March 31st) you can get $125 — look for details at